NEW DELHI, Jan. 3 (CNA) - The head of India's drugs regulator said on Sunday (Jan 3) he has given final approval for the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines, one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the other by local company Bharat Biotech.
The overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was 70.42 per cent, while Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN was "safe and provides a robust immune response", Drugs Controller General of India VG Somani said.
The British-developed AstraZeneca-Oxford shot is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India, while Bharat Biotech has teamed up with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
"Vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situations," Somani read out from a written statement at a press conference. Somani did not take questions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the approvals.
"It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India!" he said on Twitter, calling it a sign of a "self-reliant" country.
The approval is expected to kick off one of the world's biggest vaccination drives in the coming days in the country of 1.3 billion people.
India is the world's second most-infected nation with more than 10.3 million COVID-19 cases and almost 150,000 deaths.